Sunday Times removes 'anti-Semitic' column on BBC pay

A Sunday Times online article has been removed after being branded “anti-Semitic” and “disgraceful”.

Readers called for columnist Kevin Myers to be sacked, after he suggested BBC presenters Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz earned high salaries because they were Jewish.

The piece, titled “Sorry, ladies – equal pay has to be earned”, appeared in the Irish edition of the newspaper.

The paper’s editor has apologised “unreservedly” for the offence caused.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has made a formal complaint about the article to press regulator Ipso.

The column follows criticism of the BBC, after it was revealed two-thirds of its stars earning more than £150,000 are male.

Commenting that two of the best-paid presenters, Winkleman and Feltz, were Jewish, Mr Myers wrote: “Good for them.

“Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity.”

In the article, Mr Myers also argued that male presenters may earn more because they “work harder, get sick less frequently and seldom get pregnant”.

In 2009, Mr Myers wrote a column for the Irish Independent newspaper denying the Holocaust happened. It was removed following the criticism of his latest article.

Times readers – who must pay a subscription to access online content – commented on the original article to express their disgust, and called for both the writer and editor to resign.

“The proud anti-Semitism in this column is nothing short of disgraceful. Myers must go and so must the editor who approved this piece,” Alan Simpson wrote.

“I think I have to cancel my subscription if the Sunday Times continues to employ this sexist anti-Semite. I hope lots of others do the same,” another reader, Andrew Gilbert, said.

Frank Fitzgibbon, editor of the Sunday Times Ireland, said he took full responsibility for the “error of judgement”, adding: “This newspaper abhors anti-Semitism.”

Martin Ivens, editor of the Sunday Times, said the comments were “unacceptable and should not have been published”.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism is demanding confirmation that Mr Myers’ work will never be published by a News UK title again, and that the apology will appear in the print edition of the newspaper.

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